COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – As part of its reforms and initiatives to further protect athletes, the United States Olympic Committee today announced an initial grant of $1.3 million to the Athlete Assistance Fund, established by the National Gymnastics Foundation.
The grant is designated to provide financial means and assistance for gymnasts who are or were members of USA Gymnastics and have suffered sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics to obtain guidance and counseling services. Eligible individuals may request access to counseling services through the Athlete Assistance Fund by visiting phpAAFund.org.
“Though we unfortunately cannot erase the horrific acts of abuse suffered by too many gymnasts, we must support their courageous recovery efforts in every way possible,” said USOC Acting CEO Susanne Lyons. “This is among a series of reforms and actions we are taking to address problems within USA Gymnastics, but also more broadly within the entire U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community. We failed these athletes once and will not do so again.”
The USOC is working on a number of items concurrently with the independent investigation that is being conducted by the firm Ropes & Gray. In addition to the AAF funding, the USOC has doubled its funding to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Further, the USOC is taking actions to ensure athletes have a stronger voice within the USOC, forming a working group to review the governance structure across the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community, and is overseeing efforts to rebuild USA Gymnastics.
In addition to the $1.3 million grant to the AAF, the USOC is setting up a separate program for abuse survivors from other sports, to include counseling, treatment and testing services. It is expected to be in place by the end of the year.
Additional information on the USOC’s efforts can be found at TeamUSA.org/SafeSport.